75% lack confidence in their business's future

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Looking ahead: Majority of business leaders lack confidence in sector (Credit: Getty/ Dimensions)
Looking ahead: Majority of business leaders lack confidence in sector (Credit: Getty/ Dimensions)

Related tags Finance Pubco + head office Multi-site pub operators Tenanted + leased

Three quarters of business leaders lack confidence in the future, new research from The Morning Advertiser has revealed.

Of all 103 respondents to the poll,​ 75% said they were not confident about the future of their business, while a quarter (25%) said they did feel confident in their business’ future.

This comes as pubs and breweries across the country shut their doors for good due to the ever-increasing costs of business. Dawkins Ales,​ Bristol, and Thirst of Ale​, Stockport, Greater Manchester, announced closures last month with “heavy hearts”.

Furthermore, one of Winchester’s last independent pubs has been forced to cut down trading hours to cope with soaring costs.

The Rising Sun​ in Hampshire will now be closed on Tuesdays and will operate at a reduced schedule throughout the rest of the week.

A spokesperson made the announcement on social media. They said: “It's not a decision we have taken lightly and are doing it in the best interest of the business. There simply isn't the trade to run the earlier hours as things currently stand.”

Knocks in confidence

Other operators also felt beaten down after heavy knocks in trade. For instance, the operator of the Pig & Whistle, Beverley, East Yorkshire, was left “broken”​​ after rail strikes and the cost-of-living crisis triggered the worst trading week in seven years.

Head chef James Allock took to Twitter to call last Saturday (3 June) the “worst Saturday ever”, and stated, “dining out is dying”. The East Yorkshire-based bistro and tapas bar has 18 advanced bookings for the coming weeks, versus a normal rate of 54 to 78.

BrewDog chief executive James Brown​​ said the Government should install a hospitality representative to give the sector a “fair crack of the whip”. This comes after the brewery reported a £24m operating loss.

He added: “Having someone in Government, based on the size of this industry, could quickly troubleshoot that kind of stuff and I think the crazy thing is energy companies want a solution to it as well. Nobody likes things that are difficult, and it doesn’t help either side of the business.”

However, according to the latest Business Confidence Survey from CGA by NIQ and Fourth, optimism among leaders​​ of Britain’s top hospitality groups has risen since the start of 2023.

On the bright side

The quarterly poll showed more than half (54%) of leaders felt optimistic​​ about business prospects over the next 12 months – a hike of 7% from the January survey, and more than double the number (22%) who felt pessimistic.

What’s more, the survey revealed the proportion of leaders feeling confident​​ about the eating and drinking out market in general has risen even more sharply quarter-on-quarter to 40%.

Energy costs, inflation​​ and staffing shortages are battering the sector. But in its latest trading update, Urban Pubs & Bars was confident it could ride out the storm.

In the 52 weeks to 1 May 2022, the company generated an operating profit of £4.12m from sales of £32.6m, in what directors described as a “transformational” period for the group.

Related topics Rebuilding the Pub Sector

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